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Amyl Acetate

Amyl Acetate MSDS

Amyl acetate has a fairly small ammount of uses in the chemistry world but it's still worth mentioning. It is also known as banana oil or banana flavor because it is just that; artificial banana flavor. It is made from esterfication of amyl alcohol with glacial acetic acid. Though it is an artificial flavor, do not eat it. You do not know what contaminants are in it and if you do the synth wrong, you could be eating one of the byproducts of this reaction which is not healthy.

The reaction that occurs is shown below:

C5H11OH + CH3COOH ----> C5H11CH3COO + H2O

Amyl Alcohol

100ml boiling flask

Glacial Acetic Acid 200mm Reflux Column
Calcium Chloride Distilation apparatus
Sodium Carbonate 100ml Erlenmeyer Flask
Sulfuric acid  

To a 100ml round bottomed boiling flask, add 15mls of glacial acetic acid and 10mls of concentrated sulfuric acid. Swirl this to make a homogenous mixture. Now, pour in 25mls of amyl alcohol and again swirl until it forms a homogenous mixture. Set this up to reflux using a 200mm reflux column. Reflux this for 2 hours. The refluxing is not neccesary but will greatly improve yeilds. After the two hour period, remove the reflux column and set the flask up for simple distilation. Have a thermometer extending below the surface of the liquids. Begin distiling and stop once the liquid inside the flask goes above 145C.

In the Erlenmeyer flask, there should be a significant ammount of liquid. To this add 10grams of sodium carbonate (sodium bicarbonate can be substituded, but add it carefuly). Next add 15grams of powdered calcium chloride. Swirl the flask now for 10-15minutes. The sodium carbonate will neutralize any acetic acid left over and the calcium chloride will form a solid complex with any remaining amyl alcohol. Leave this flask sit for a couple hours swirling occasionally. This will ensure that most of the amyl alcohol if not all is turned into the complex.

Add the contents to the flask (all of it) to another 100ml round bottomed boiling flask. Set this up for simple distilation again, this time with the thermometer in the usual place to measure the temperature of the vapor. Begin distiling and collect the fraction between 140C and 155C. There has to be a broad range because the boiling point of amyl acetate can change if there are different ammounts of the amyl isomers in it (amyl alcohol is a mix of isomers). This fraction should be clear and have a strong banana scent to it (almost nauseating at times). This is your amyl acetate.